What is Distracted Driving & How to Avoid it

Updated August 30, 2023  |   Published April 4, 2023

Distracted driving is the performing of another activity that takes attention away from driving, increasing the chance of a motor vehicle accident. It is an unfortunate topic that needs to be brought to light. Nine lives are taken every day in crashes that are reported to involve a distracted driver. We live in a world where distractions are at our fingertips, so let’s look at why distracted driving needs to be avoided at all costs, as well as some tips to prevent distracted driving.

 

Types of Driving Distractions

Anything that sends your attention away from operating a motor vehicle is a distraction. Sending a text message, talking on a cell phone, using a navigation system, and eating while driving are a few common distractions. There are three main types of distraction:

  1. Visual: taking your eyes off the road
  2. Manual: taking your hands off the wheel
  3. Cognitive: taking your mind off driving

 

Risk Levels for Distracted Driving

Young adult and teen drivers are more susceptible to distracted driving. Take a look at these statistics:

  • Among fatal crashes involving distracted drivers in the US in 2019:
    • A higher percentage of drivers ages 15-20 were distracted than drivers age 21 and older.
  • Texting or emailing while driving is more common among older students than younger students.
  • Students who texted or emailed while driving were also more likely to report other transportation risk behaviors, such as:
    • They were more likely to not always wear a seat belt.
    • They were more likely to drive after drinking alcohol.

 

Distracted Driving is Preventable; Here’s What You Can Do

As a driver:

  • Do not multitask while driving. Whether it’s adjusting your mirrors, eating, making a phone call, or reading a text or email… do it before or after your trip, not during.
  • There are many apps that you can use to avoid cell phone use while driving. Many smartphones also have a “Do Not Disturb While Driving” feature.
  • Keep children and pets safe. Make sure that children are in proper car seats and pets stay secured in their zone in the back of your vehicle. Having pets roaming throughout your car can significantly increase distractions.
  • Plan your route before you go. Programming your navigation system while you drive can take your eyes off the road. It’s better to ask a passenger to enter your destination or do it before you leave home.
  • Avoid reaching. Resist the urge to reach for items if they fall while you’re driving.

As a passenger:

  • Speak up if you’re a passenger in a car with a distracted driver. Ask the driver to focus on driving.
  • Reduce distractions for the driver by assisting with navigation or other tasks.
  • Don’t be a distraction. Avoid calling or texting family members and friends when you know they might be driving. It’s also courteous to not call others when you’re in the car with someone else, unless it’s an emergency, so as not to distract them.

As a parent:

  • Talk to your teen or young adult about the rules and responsibilities involved in driving. Share stories and statistics related to teen/young adult drivers and distracted driving.
    • Remind them that driving is a skill that requires your full attention.
    • Emphasize that texts and phone calls can wait until you arrive at your destination.
  • Familiarize yourself with your state’s graduate driver licensing system. Enforce its guidelines with your teen.
  • Know your state’s laws on distracted driving. Many states have novice driver provisions in their distracted driving laws. Talk with your teen about the consequences of distracted driving and make yourself and your teen aware of your state’s penalties for talking or texting while driving.
  • Set consequences for distracted driving. Your family’s rules of the road can be stricter than your state’s law. You can also use these simple and effective ways to get involved with your teen’s driving: Parents Are the Key.
  • Set an example by keeping your eyes on the road and your hands on the wheel at all times while driving.

 

While many states are enacting laws to prevent distracted driving, it is important that the role models surrounding young people, such as parents, teachers, and mentors, are also guiding teens and young adults towards making good driving decisions. In the event of an accident, you need insurance that will have your back when you need it most. WebFirst Insurance, LLC, can help you find the right auto insurance provider to help you get back on your feet quickly in the event of an accident.

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